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Increased returns, sales follow HFS renovations

Within the past year, Housing and Food Services (HFS) has impressed students with renovations of the Husky Den and Eight, the new dining facility in McMahon Hall. Paul Brown is looking forward to renovating other eating areas on campus, including Terry Cafe.

About $18 million to $20 million have been spent on the major renovations in the HUB and McMahon Hall. These totals will rise after renovations in Terry Cafe, set tentatively to be completed by winter quarter 2005, to more than $25 million.

The benefits have by far exceeded the costs, said Brown.

Husky Den sales have gone up 60 percent, and transactions have gone up from about 5,500 on a "good day" before the renovations, to more then 9,500 transactions. On the first day of school, a record-breaking 11,000 transactions took place.

It's a little early to project numbers for newly opened Eight, said Brown, but similar results are expected.

The UW's HFS is receiving national acclaim for having the best eating facility on a college campus. Food-Service directors from college campuses all over the country are ranking the newly renovated facilities as number one.

"[Louisiana State University] was here last week touring campuses for ideas to renovate [its] own food facilities, and after touring five or six other college campuses, claimed that UW was the best one [its] seen," said Brown.

Other than the restaurant-like atmospheres, HFS has invested greatly in the food quality. A "first-rate" cooking staff, a well-equipped kitchen and the addition of gas stoves in the HUB and Eight are some of the many measures HFS has taken to satisfy the large variety of tastes that students may have.

HFS also prides itself in being the first to buy a franchise of the privately owned local pizza chain, Pagliacci.

Food services on campus have not always been favored. Prior to the renovations, HFS received complaints from students discontent with the poor quality of food and services provided. This prompted Brown and his team to spend three years planning their multi-million-dollar project to "completely re-make HFS."

"[The renovations are] like painting a house: If you paint only one room, the other rooms look less desirable," said Dan Farrell, HFS assistant director for retail services.

Many other renovations are currently underway. HFS is currently constructing a new cafe, which will be located inside of the newly renovated Intramural Activities Building. The cafe is to have a sports feel and a menu of healthy food choices. Renovation plans for Portage Bay Galley, located on south campus, and By George will be discussed once Terry Cafe, the last of the major three, is completed.

"If you're going to do it, do it right the first time. We did, and we gave this university a first-rate food facility," said Brown.

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